August 17, 2009 • Ariel and Whitney
Creamy Israeli Couscous and an Airplane Food Rant
This week I’m in California! Before I blog about all food West Coast, I thought I’d give you a little post about eating before boarding your flight to your next vacation destination. Now we all know that plane food is a little less than subpar. If you’re lucky enough to even be fed on a flight without having to pay an extra fee, you will usually be given one of several options: something fake that stains your fingers orange, way over cooked spaghetti with goopy marinara, or defrosted mystery meat in a lean cuisine-like plastic container. Now none of these choices are particularly appetizing. So you have a couple of choices.
Number 1: go hungry. If you’re like me and your appetite never seems to be satiated then this is not the option for you.
Number 2: pick up several candy bars and chips at the snack stand before boarding. While this is usually the route most people take, including me, it’s bad and you know it. Those snacks are processed and full of fat and sugar. While they may fight away your hunger pains for a few minutes, they will not- I repeat NOT keep you satisfied during your long and boring flight.
Number 3: eat something substantial before you leave the house.
DINGDINGDING winner winner chicken dinner! Yes, after you pack up and before you journey to your local airport, eat something at home!
So before I went to Logan Airport, I decided to cook up something with lots of protein and very filling. I decided to pull out some israeli couscous and see what I could do with it.
Pre-Flight Creamy Israeli Couscous
1 box Israeli Couscous
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup slivered almonds
generous sprinkling parmesan cheese
parsley, salt and pepper to garnish
Cook the couscous as directed on the box. I decided to use vegetable stock instead of water because it definitely makes a more flavorful couscous. In a separate pan, toast the slivered almonds and pine nuts until they are lightly browned and you smell a toasty aroma in your kitchen. If you smell burning, hurry and take the pan off the heat asap! When the couscous has absorbed all of that tasty vegetable stock, you can get creative. I decided that the toasted nuts would be a great addition to the dish because they’d add protein that would keep me feeling full longer. I also added the parmesan cheese because I had some left in the fridge and figured my dad wouldn’t dare touch it- and hey, I wouldn’t want to waste! Stir the mixture until the cheese is melted. It should sort of be like a risotto. The starches from the couscous and the cheese should make a really delicious coating for the dish. At this point you could add in a multitude of veggies like onions, broc, peas, corn- really anything you want! Israeli couscous is great because it’s more of a pasta than regular couscous and stands up well to additional ingredients.
After I ate a bowl of this stick to your stomach creation, I was full and ready to head to the airport. Confident that I wouldn’t feel the need to stop at any snack stands and consume empty calories on chips and chocolate, I strode to my plane, boarded and soon I landed in California! I know sometimes your flights will be really long and at those times you should definitely pack a healthy snack in a tupperware to keep your satisfied during your flight, but otherwise, eating before you leave your house is not only smarter for your curves, it will also save you some money (as airports are always over-priced) so you can spend it when you arrive at your destination!
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